Sri Lanka plans arms dealing restrictions: report

COLOMBO, Oct 10, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s government is planning to introduce a blanket ban on its nationals’ involvement in officially authorised arms dealing, a state-run newspaper said Wednesday. The new restrictions appear to be part of an effort by Colombo to centralise its own burgeoning weapons purchases, which in the past have been conducted through a myriad of middle-men.

The Daily News quoted President Mahinda Rajapakse’s newly appointed legislator brother, Basil Rajapakse, as saying that the government had invoked provisions under tough emergency laws to ban Sri Lankans entering arms deals.

“The government is going to give effect to this regulation by converting it into (the normal) law,” the paper quoted him as saying. “No Sri Lankan will be able to engage in any arms deals here or abroad in future.”

The paper said the government had prepared a list of items its citizens cannot deal in, but the contents of that list were not immediately known.

Punishment for dealing in weapons was also not immediately clear.

Several Sri Lankans as well as private companies act as middlemen in arranging arms deals for the security forces combating Tamil separatists.

Tamil T